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Resource assessments of undiscovered mineral deposits rely on the integration of geology, geochemisty, geophysics, and the genetic models of ore formation. To produce the assessments, the USGS performs bedrock and surficial geologic mapping, geochemical sampling of rocks and stream sediments, and airborne and ground-based geophysical investigations. The resultant datasets are used to describe the geo-environmental character of the lands studied and to produce qualitative and quantitative estimates of the probabilities of mineral-deposit occurrences on those lands. These studies inform land-use planners and decision makers about where mineral commodities are known and suspected in the Earth's crust and about the environmental consequences of the presence of those commodities.
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